Henry Speight returns for Brumbies

Date published: June 20 2019

Brumbies head coach Dan McKellar has made four changes to their run-on side for their Super Rugby quarter-final against the Sharks in Canberra on Saturday. 

In the backline, Wallabies flyer Henry Speight was passed fit to reclaim the right-wing spot where he comes in for Andy Muirhead. Toni Pulu returns to the left wing – in place of Tom Wright – to form a potent back three alongside Speight and full-back Tom Banks.

The other two changes are in the back-row where Tom Cusack and Pete Samu return to the starting XV alongside Rob Valetini, with loose forwards Lachlan McCaffrey and Jahrome Brown providing power and impact from the replacements bench.

The nucleus of the pack that has been the benchmark for the Super Rugby competition in 2019 is retained with the all-international front-row of Scott Sio and Allan Alaalatoa packing down with Brumbies leading try-scorer, Folau Fainga’a – the hooker having claimed 11 tries this season.

Christian Lealiifano will win his 149th Super Rugby cap, leading the team for the 47th time as captain and equalling the mark set by George Gregan, with the gifted playmaker also closing in on 950 Super Rugby points.

McKellar has opted for six forwards on the bench, adding Darcy Swain into the finishers with the front-row substitutes being Connal McInerney, James Slipper and Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin – the latter running out for his 49th Super Rugby appearance.

Matt Lucas makes a return to the matchday 23 as one of two back replacements, together with utility back Wright who crossed for his third try of the season in last weekend’s win over the Reds.

Should the Brumbies be successful in their quarter-final there are two potential semi-final fixtures that could take place next weekend.

If the Jaguares defeat the Chiefs in Buenos Aires, the Brumbies will travel to Argentina, whilst if the Chiefs are successful the New Zealanders will be the opposition at GIO Stadium.

Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Christian Lealiifano (c), 9 Joe Powell, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’A, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Connal Mcinerney, 17 James Slipper, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Lachlan Mccaffrey, 21 Jahrome Brown, 22 Matt Lucas, 23 Tom Wright

Date: Saturday, June 22
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Kick-off: 20:05 local (11:05 BST, 10:05 GMT)
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: James Leckie (Australia)